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After Action Report
Date of Action: July 10, 2009
VMF-251 was assigned to escort/strike American carrier C24, alongside Rolling Thunder and Air Raiders. Squadron took off at 2301 from C28 in A6M5s and proceeded to form up.
VMF-251 formed up with Air Raiders and Rolling Thunder, and proceed south on climb out to altitude. Twelve minutes into flight Sidle forced to return to base with mechanical problems with several other pilots in strike. Millsaps shifted to cover Roche. Sidle took off again at 2315 to join second wave.
Formation climed to 24,000ft and leveled off on approach to target aread. Group turned E to approach target area, joined by second wave which took a direct course towards the target.
Contact made with single F6F scout at about 2330. At 2335 large formation of F6Fs spotted to south. VMF-251 jettisoned ordinance and external tanks and turned in to engage.
Wyatt shot down F6F at 2336. Bodie shot down 2337. King claimed one at 2338. Trol bailed out at 2338. Sidle shot down two F6Fs and aJoust claimed one at 2340. Roche and Millsaps bailed out at 2342.
Engagement wound down at about 2345, and VMF-251 turned SW to rejoin remainder of strike over target area. Found Rolling Thunder and part of Air Raiders engaged low near enemy task group with F6Fs. VMF-251 rolled in to assist. Wyatt shot down F6F at 2350. aJoust claimed F6F at 2352.
Remainder of strike package began egress out of area and formed up for return to carrier. Wyatt and aJoust made hard landings due to damage to aircraft by 0020. Coronado recovered at 0027. Sidle and King rearmed, but follow-up strike called off at 0032.